Phil and Kaja Foglio, Emcees. Photo by Zoe Simsay.

by Gene Turnbow, station manager

Costume competitors can push their presentation toward the excellence of their costuming skills, or more towards cosplay in which the quality of their performance can count for more than the quality of the costume (or costumes themselves).  This year’s entries ranged the gamut. Standout costumes were an amazing Queen Amidala (which took two awards); a pair of Aliens (a la Ridley Scott); a glorious recreation of characters from Maleficent in Aurora’s Midsummer Night’s Dream made even better  by some truly breathtaking ballet; and Raiden, complete with motorized armor pieces.

Technical achievements were also in evidence.  There was a lovely ice fairy with working animatronic fairy wings which were operated by no control we could discern. There was also the Dragonborn from Skyrim, with choreography and swordsmanship that were both dazzling and thrilling. There were two version of Ursula from The Little Mermaid, both were over the top and remarkable interpretations, yet each very different.

Song and dance made the evening stellar, some with remarkably complex costumed song and dance numbers, and we were amazed at one woman who did five costume changes in five minutes on stage before our eyes.  Some acts depended on the element of surprise.  One act we loved was one called “Twelve”.  With the stage dark, the stage ninjas rolled out a TARDIS, and we expected a Matt Smith cosplay to step out.  We were shocked when out of the TARDIS poured not one Doctor, but twelve, which was the other interpretation of the title that we hadn’t considered!  Another was themed on kaiju, destroying cities – but when the lights came up the glowing eyes and gaping mouths turned out to be hats worn by a chorus line of lovely ladies dressed as all our favorite Japanese giant monsters!

Sometimes the performances were so good that they brought costuming that went with it from being merely great to being amazing. There was a most appealing performance with a rendition of Agatha Heterodyne from Girl Genius, much to the delight of the shows hosts, Phil & Kaja Foglio, but she was upstaged, surprisingly, by the audio animatronic Dingbot she’d created herself.

And sometimes the performances themselves were so good that they could have been wearing burlap and we’d still have loved what they did. The San Diego Comic-Con has been holding Masquerades now for 40 years, and it always attracts the most remarkable and skilled cosplayers and costumers fandom has to offer. This year the creators did not disappoint. Here’s the list of awards and winners; we’ve got exclusive photos for you in the slideshow below!

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